Maybe you've seen him. Michael Dunn, 27, of San Lorenzo, just finished riding 1,000 miles on his Boosted Board, the popular Mountain View-created electric longboard that stops and starts via a handheld control and has the horsepower to rev up hills — not to mention the brakes to ease down them. On the streets of Oakland and San Francisco, Dunn is recognizable on his board: He dons a baby-carrier backpack that really just holds speakers, blasting music and drawing stares as his face remains serious and impassive. Usually he's got a cup of Philz Coffee in hand.
Dunn has been taking folks along for many of those 1,000 miles via video: On Reddit and with a public Facebook group, Boosted Board riders and enthusiasts like Dunn share clips, tips, stories, and community. To the Facebook Group, Dunn posts lengthy videos of his rides almost daily, his camera on a selfie-stick pointed at his face while the world flies by around him. When Dunn spoke to SFist by phone, he was in the process of uploading the 1,000th-mile celebration ride he'd just taken on the Embarcadero.
"I like everything about it man," Dunn says of the Boosted Board. "I feel like a spokesman for this, they should really pay me for this shit." But not everyone is a fan of his habit, which started a year ago after years on non-electric longboards. "My wife hated [the Boosted Board], but it came out of my tax refund," Dunn says, "but she's gotten over it since."
There's one more person who sometimes rides along with Dunn, and who explains the origin of his backpack. That's Dunn's young son, whom he occasionally pushes with a stroller in front of him while he rides his Boosted Board. Before you gasp, take a breath and consider the parents in Noe Valley who ride their electric bikes at 40 miles per hour with three children on the back. Dunn is a full-time student at Chabot College, "but for the most part, bro, I'm a stay at home dad," he tells SFist. "I work weekends, so for the most part, it's me and my son." A lot of that father-son time? It's Boosted time, too.
Many of Dunn's tips to riders on the Facebook group concern good places to charge up. "Charging it is super easy, I always find a place to charge," he says. "I'm plugged up right now in Fisherman's Wharf." Dunn also likes that the board isn't complicted. "It's easy to maintain, you don't have to get rocket science." And with his child-carrying sized backpack, he's able to stash some extra battery, too: "I'm like a Boy Scout, always prepared."
When I spoke with Boosted Board Founder Matthew Tran in 2015, he said he'd hoped to foster just the kind of community Dunn is such a vocal part of. There's plenty of daredevil braggery in the group, but as Boosted riding becomes more common, there's also an emphasis on community safety tips and enforcement. To end on that note, not long ago, one rider posted a picture of himself, smiling from a hospital bed with his leg in a brace, to the Facebook group. "A few days ago I got hit by a car making a very fast, illegal U-turn in the Mission and tore my ACL," he reveals. "Won't be boarding for a year or so, depending on how the surgery goes. I'm lucky not to have hit my head, but I wanted to share with everyone here as a reminder to be extra cautious. I know it sounds simple, but cars can make illegal turns, run red lights, or make other mistakes that won't give you enough time to react."
Or, as one commenter responds to Dunn's video: "You might wanna pay attention to the road mane. You've been pretty fortun[ate] those people sharing the road with you aka vehicles haven't rammed your ass into the ground. They will one day just you wait and see."
Related: Photo Du Jour: Boosted Life